Navy Engineer Receives Hawaii Award

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Dawn Szewczyk

DON ROCHON – An engineer working for Naval Facilities Engineer Command (NAVFAC) Pacific at Pearl Harbor was awarded the Hawaii Council of Engineering Societies’ (HCES) 2011 Young Engineer of the Year Award Feb. 26 at the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii.


Dawn Szewczyk, an environmental engineer working in the Public Works and Utilities section of the Guam Program Management Office (GPMO) at NAVFAC Pacific, was selected by HCES for her outstanding contributions to her profession and community.

“With the busy lives of people today, it is fantastic to have young people who can balance taking care of their family and job, and giving so much back to the community in the way of helping to create engineers of the future,” said Stephen Barker, head, GPMO Public Works.

“Dawn brings dedication and a great set of organizational skills to the NAVFAC family. Each member of the team has a role, and it is essential to have self-starters who think out-of-the-box and are courageous such as Dawn.”

Each year HCES selects one individual for their prestigious Young Engineer Award. The candidate chosen must be a practicing professional engineer in the State of Hawaii and be 35 years of age or younger. The technical accomplishments of the candidate and their professional, civic and community contributions are thoroughly evaluated by a committee designated by the HCES.

Developed over a period of 13 years, Szewczyk’s exceptional skills and community contributions were highlighted at the awards ceremony.

“Mrs. Szewczyk’s diverse engineering skills, experience, work ethic, leadership qualities, dedication to the engineering profession and passionate desire to help others make her a well-deserving recipient of this year’s award,” said Suzie Sales Agraan, State Department of Land and Natural Resources planning engineer.

Szewczyk is grateful for her family, friends from previous employers, and her colleagues who have been very supportive.

“I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected for such a prestigious award,” said Szewczyk. “I hope to feel energized and motivated to continue to excel in my career.

“I have to credit my parents and brother for supporting me in everything I dreamed of and set out to do. They never placed limits or boundaries on my aspirations and made it seem like I could achieve anything I set out to conquer.”

Szewczyk began her professional career in 1998 when she worked as a junior engineer at a land development firm, where she provided assistance in planning and design development of site civil utilities and infrastructure for various master-planned communities, ranging from 500 to 12,000 acres in size.

Beginning in 2000, Szewczyk worked 10 years for large engineering firm that has offices around the world. During this time, her position as a design manager for the Hawaii Department of Education’s $87 million Large Capacity Cesspool project helped achieve closure or conversion of 320 large capacity cesspools distributed throughout 49 schools on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Hawaii.

In addition to being able to share her professional experiences with NAVFAC, Szewczyk continues to share her experiences with members of the community.  Outside of work, she has coordinated numerous office and outreach events, which included initiating engineering-related activities with public elementary schools.  She also engaged in outreach discussions with many high school and college students about the engineering profession.

“Working with children is always great, and I enjoy mentoring students of all ages. Whether I’m a mentor for science fair projects, or presenting wastewater functions to students, I always look forward to participating in enhancing our community.”

The HCES is the umbrella organization of 13 major engineering societies in the State of Hawaii. Its officers and board members are representatives of each of the member societies and they are responsible for formulation the plans, objectives, programs and policies of the Council. The Young Engineer Award has been given out annually since 1984.

“We are indeed fortunate to have Mrs. Szewczyk representing us in the local community, as well as the engineering industry,” said Agraan, who presented the award to Szewczyk at the banquet.

Don Rochon is the Director of Public Affairs for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) manages the planning, design, construction, contingency engineering, real estate, environmental, and public works support for U.S. Navy shore facilities around the world. We provide the Navy’s forces with the operating, expeditionary, support and training bases they need. NAVFAC is a global organization with an annual volume of business in excess of $18 billion. As a major Navy Systems Command and an integral member of the Navy and Marine Corps team, NAVFAC delivers timely and effective facilities engineering solutions worldwide.